Cupcake Catch Up

I noticed recently that a few cakes have slipped through the record keeping net so there are no recipes for you today – just cakey pictures for your voyeuristic pleasure.

passion fruit curd

This pot of deliciousness just had to be bought.  It led to the creation of…

orange cake with passion fruit curd centre

…these – orange sponge cake with a passion fruit curd centre, topped with fresh orange Italian meringue buttercream and finished with a drizzle of passion fruit and orange glaze.

passion fruit curd centre in an orange sponge

Gorgeous, golden, passion fruit curd in the centre of an orange sponge cupcake.

I’ve seen a few recipes for strawberry meringues using artificial strawberry flavourings, and one or two using freeze dried strawberries, but prefer to use fresh ingredients where possible; in the end I decided to do some experimenting using fresh strawberry purée for both flavour and colour (click on pics for full descriptions).

They tasted absolutely  divine but my word were they ever a faff to get baked!.

Basically I didn’t fully account for the extra moisture added by the fresh strawberries (albeit a mega reduced purée), took them out too soon and consequently had to spend hours in a cycle of reheating the oven, cooking the meringues for a few minutes, turning off the oven, letting everything cool, checking, reheating the oven…

This was not an ideal method of cooking them and resulted in slightly weepy meringues, BUT it truly was worth the effort in terms of taste.  The freshness of the strawberry flavour was exceptional and the light strawberry chocolate cream used in the ‘regular’ ones was a sublime compliment.  Having said that, the whipped white chocolate vanilla ganache in the cookie ones was pretty damned fabulous too!

So…more experimentation…longer initial cooking time…

Choc on choc on choc

Choc on choc on choc: chocolate fudge cupcake topped with milk chocolate buttercream under dark chocolate poured ganache. Decorated with whipped milk chocolate ganache, hand crafted marbled chocolate shards, dark chocolate shavings and a dark chocolate rolo.

Surely enough chocolate to satisfy even the most die-hard chocolate addict?!

Lemon Raspberry Ripple

Dreaming of summer with lemon raspberry ripple cupcakes: lemon sponge rippled through with fresh raspberry purée, topped with a swirl of fresh raspberry and white chocolate mousse, finished with a fresh, juicy raspberry.

Strawberry cupcakes with whipped strawberry chocolate ganache

Still bringing on the summer vibe with strawberry chocolate cupcakes: strawberry sponge with fluffy, whipped strawberry chocolate ganache, topped off with a chocolate dipped strawberry.

coffee with double choc

Coffee sponge cupcakes with a silky double chocolate topping (milk & white) of whipped ganache.

Ok, I think that’s the cupcakes all caught up now…there’s a couple of celebration cakes still to post but I’ll do those separately.

Goodness…I’ve just made myself very hungry…I’m off to see if Barn’s left anything in the cake tin…don’t know what you’re going to do…  😉


Christmas Cupcakes


There! That’s the huge sigh of relief promised in the previous post.

Now here come the pictures…

Blurred boxed up

I’m delighted to say the cupcake order (also mentioned in the previous post – c’mon, keep up now! 😉 ) is now complete.

Santas, snowmen, robins and elves – a total of 72 cupcakes, all boxed up and ready to go.

Christmas Cupcakes
A selection of vanilla sponge and chocolate sponge cupcakes, topped with vanilla Italian meringue buttercream and decorated with fondant.

These cakes are notable for two reasons:

  1. It was the largest single order for cupcakes received to date, and
  2. It was the first time I paid someone to help me complete an order (see above!).

And so, with baby steps, I continue to make the dream a reality.


Butterfly Birthday Cake, made by Minions

The whole thingFrozen Themed Cake






When I’ve previously made birthday cakes for Barn’s niece she’s been a little young to grasp the concept of ‘you can have anything you like for your cake’ and there’s been a lot of parental input in terms of theme.

This year she was in full on imagination mode when she asked for, “A butterfly cake…with Minion eyes!”

Despite loving the concept I reckoned the end result might be a little scary looking so we agreed that she would have a butterfly cake with Minions involved somehow.

Butterfly cake from aboveAnd so this three layer vanilla and strawberry sponge cake was created – a butterfly cake being crafted by Minions.

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Two birthdays and an anniversary

Cupcakes made for a group of friends celebrating together._DSC7509Red velvet cupcakes for a ruby wedding anniversary, topped with fondant and decorated with modelling chocolate lettering, fondant hearts and jelly rubies.

_DSC7538Birthday lemon cupcakes: some fondant covered, with modelling chocolate lettering and soft silver balls – some piped with sherbet lemon buttercream, sprinkled with edible silver glitter.

_DSC7539Birthday cupcakes made of chocolate sponge: some topped with fondant, decorated with modelling chocolate letters and soft gold balls – some piped with dark chocolate buttercream, sprinkled with edible gold glitter and soft gold balls.


I am a National Cupcake Championship WINNER!

This is a ‘real time’ post…today I won the ‘free from’ home home baker category in the National Cupcake Championships!  This was my first time entering any kind of baking competition, never mind such a major one.  I’m still pinching myself.

Remember way back at the beginning of all this cake stuff, I made some grown up banoffee cupcakes?  And do you remember me telling you that they were exceptionally good?  Apparently, I didn’t lie!

Banoffee After Dark 1I entered my original  roast banana cupcake recipe, with dulce de leche and dark chocolate buttercream on top, as before.  However, this time I used Italian meringue buttercream rather than American, thus making it 1000x better than the prototype.  I then dressed them in fine jackets and renamed them ‘Banoffee After Dark’.

Banoffee After Dark 2This is what they looked like nekkid.

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A bit of drama

Music & DramaCake & Coordinating cupcakesA film, music and theatre themed cake for a birthday celebration being shared by three lovely friends.

Two layer dense, rich chocolate fudge cake filled with light and creamy vanilla Italian meringue buttercream. Covered with fondant and finished with hand crafted fondant and gumpaste decorations.  No moulds were involved in making the decorations and I was really pleased with the way they turned out.Celebrating 3 times If music be...Vanilla cupcakes with flavoured fondant top and hand crafted fondant decorations – lemon flavour for the musical notes and vanilla flavour for the stars.

Tickets please...Vanilla cupcakes with strawberry flavoured fondant top and hand crafted fondant decorations.

The cutting cake suffered an accident in transit.  The taxi driver tasked with taking me to deliver it chose to ignore my pleas to drive carefully and slowly, spinning away from the house before the cake and I were properly secure, thus causing a cake slide and some quite visible damage.  I managed to cobble the edging rope and curtains back together, but could do nothing about the large dent that can be seen at the back of cake.  Gah!


Cakes for Christmas

Christmas related baking started in a simple enough fashion.  I played with some recipes, piped a few swirls, scattered some gold pearls, thusly:

Frosted Christmas cupcakesHere we have moist spiced orange sponge, studded with juicy cranberries, topped with orange & cinnamon buttercream. Demonstrating two piping styles – one finished with orange zest, the other with gold pearls.  When I came up with these beauties I thought I’d captured Christmas in a cupcake.  But I was wrong.

Christmas cupcakesWhat really captured Christmas in a cupcake was the ‘mince pie’ cupcakes I came up with next.  I used a spiced vanilla sponge packed with dried fruits and orange peel.  Then, when they were still warm from the oven, I drizzled them with a fresh lemon soak. Finally, I topped them with vanilla buttercream and decorated with fondant.

With demands for more flooding in from family and friends I got on a roll (ha!) with my fondant designs, and things kinda snowballed (haha!)

SantasI made worried looking Santas, and some more relaxed ones.

Penguin & ReindeerThere were perky penguins and startled reindeer.

SnowmenThere were snowmen, resplendent in an array of stripy bobble hats.

Christmas puddingThere were Christmas puddings….

Choirboy…and then there were choirboys with mouths that made them disturbingly reminiscent of blow up sex dolls.  I stopped with the cupcakes after that.

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Autumn Cupcakes

During October 2013 I did a fair bit of experimentation with cupcake flavours, creating three new recipes with which I was happy.  I’m happy to verify that relaxed bliss can be achieved by taking any of the following Autumnal creations, adding hot chocolate, a snuggly blanket and a black & white afternoon matinee.

Cherry Bakewell CupcakesCherry Bakewell cupcakes: almond sponge cake, centrally filled with morello cherry flavour buttercream, covered with lemon laced fondant and topped with a cherry.  All boxed up ready to go to Mum and Big Sis.

Banoffee grows upGrown up banoffee cupcakes: roasted banana sponge topped with a puddle of dulce de leche (which is just a posh name for caramel made using a boiled tin of condensed milk), dark chocolate buttercream and a banana chip.  These were incredibly good.

Spiced Toffee AppleSpiced toffee apple cupcakes: fresh apple pieces set between two layers of gently spiced vanilla sponge cake (cinnamon and cloves).  Topped with a cloud of vanilla buttercream, drizzled with dulce de leche and sprinkled with toasted nuts and cinnamon spiced dried apple pieces.


Downton Abbey Cakes

Mum, Big Sis and I all like ourselves a bit of Downton Abbey.  We’re also quite partial to a sweet treat or two.  Seemed pretty obvious to me that combining the two things would be a good plan, so I came up with these cupcakes for us to eat whilst watching the carryings on of the Granthams.

Downton cupcakes for teaLight sponge cakes, flavoured with Champagne and just a hint of lemon, topped with raspberry Chambord frosting and finished with hand crafted fondant roses, daisies and pearls.  This was my first go at doing roses using cutters, rather than the ribbon method used previously.

Once there was a quilted one...The designs were inspired by the many (far better) examples, of elegant, vintage style cupcakes that can be seen across the internet.  I liked the effect of the quilted one (my first go at quilting) but it didn’t make the final selection, instead getting taste-tested into oblivion by Barn and Petit Man.

The final selectionThis was the final selection, consumed with Earl Grey tea and great company.


Oh, how rude!

I’ve really dithered over whether to post these cakes…but d’ya know what?  Screw you if you can’t take a joke! An uncensored picture is at the bottom of the page 😉

Red velvet cake with vanilla buttercream.

These cupcakes were a special request…the person involved shall remain nameless.  Making them was an interesting experience…you trying Googling ‘vagina cakes’ and see what you get!

Barn was slightly taken aback to come home from work to find me in the kitchen, surrounded by partially formed sugar fannies, my face inches away from an enlarged diagram of the female parts (well, if you’re going to do something like this you might as well aim for anatomical correctness).  He got over it.


So, without further ado I present you with the pierced & tattooed one, the landing strip, the vajazzled one and the 70s muff.  Pierced and vajazzled are the popular choices.

Did I enjoy making these cakes?  It was a learning experience.  I smirked a lot.